Posted at 10:47 AM on September 14, 2006
by Don Lee
We've been keeping you in suspense long enough. Did Viktoria Mullova get her Strad on that plane from London to Minneapolis, or did she not? As Brian Newhouse told us a few days ago, Mullova was worried that new security restrictions would prevent her from taking the valuable instrument along for her Minnesota Orchestra appearances this weekend.
Yesterday, Brian learned how it all played out. He sends this account of a conversation with an orchestra official:
When [conductor] Mark Elder made his impassioned speech at the Last Night of the Proms concert [last Saturday] about these restrictions making it so hard on musicians coming in and out of England, the audience and orchestra let out a cheer of support. But when [Mullova] got to the airport security desk [earlier this week], they informed her that their lives had been made all the more difficult by that very speech as musicians have suddenly taken to blaming them--who are just doing as they're told. And as a matter of fact, restrictions seemed to be clamped down even harder post-speech. So, Mullova will play [First Associate Concertmaster] Sarah Kwak's instrument, which apparently she likes quite well. Not a Strad but very similar in size, weight, balance, etc.
But in the end it appears musicians' complaints about the UK carry-on restrictions may have helped their cause. News reports yesterday say instruments may be allowed back in the cabin as soon as late next week.
I ran into Victoria Mullova at a grocery store. I did not know if it was a good idea to approach her, but I could not help it. She was waiting in a line, and I said hi to her, and asked about the violin situation. I did not want to bother her too much so, I said goodbye quickly.
I was a bit suprised to find a superstar like her in a grocery store.
Later that day, I attended the concert. Wonderful performance by Mullova, Vanska, and the orchestra. I read a review saying that the reviewer was not able to hear Osmo's super silent pianissimo. I could hear everything!
After the concert, I said hi to Osmo Vanska and got my Beethoven and Sibelius CDs signed.
Good thing happens when you stay alive!